Here is your midweek NCMS Morning Rounds.

Nov. 20, 2019

Medicaid Transformation Delayed

With the delay of the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care now official, the NCMS wants to reassure our members that this is simply a shift in timing of the lengthy and highly complex process that began seven years ago when the General Assembly began debating legislation that ultimately made this transformation possible. [Read the NC Department of Health and Human Services press release on the delay.]

Much remains unknown at this point, but we encourage you to continue to pursue contracts with the managed care companies that the state has selected to provide Medicaid services to your patients when the system does eventually move to managed care.

The NCMS has been closely involved in every aspect of the Medicaid transition, advocating and seeking to empower you, as a physician, to provide the leadership and guidance in crafting the clinical policies so you can continue to provide quality health services for our state’s most vulnerable citizens. As always, we will remain vigilant so you can keep caring for your Medicaid patients under the current fee-for-service system.

We continue to be fully engaged in this process, advocating for the five guiding principles for Medicaid embraced by the NCMS Board of Directors in 2013. We are committed to:

  • Moving Medicaid to a value-driven system, consistent with the rest of health care;
    • Quality and efficiency goals that are thoroughly vetted, accepted and consistent with current practice;
    • Providing physicians with the needed data and tools to identify and address problems;
    • Utilizing physician-led teams, in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or similar entities; and
    • Transparency and accountability for all partners.

We will keep you informed as facts become available.

More NCMS Disaster Relief Help Delivered

Another NCMS Foundation Disaster Relief Program check was delivered recently to Kell Medical in Jacksonville. Robert Kell, MD, and his wife, Victoria Kell, a nurse practitioner in the practice gratefully accepted a check for $7,500, from the fund.

The primary care and gynecology practice had to close for five business days due to Hurricane Florence. Once power was restored, however, many of their patients couldn’t get back to town due to flooding and storm damage meaning they saw few patients for the next two to three weeks. The NCMS relief check will allow the practice to offset some of this lost income.

Since its inception last fall in the wake of Hurricane Florence, the NCMS Foundation’s Disaster Relief fund has given nearly $500,000 to practices impacted by the storm to help them pay to repair physical damage to their facilities and recoup financial losses.

The goal of the fund is to help ensure the physicians and physician assistants can continue to care for the patients in their communities.

The Disaster Relief fund will accept applications for losses due to Hurricane Florence until Dec. 1.

Learn more about the program guidelines (PDF).

Apply now to the Disaster Relief Program (PDF).

Statistics on NC Opioid Related Deaths Show Decrease

The Injury and Violence Prevention Branch of the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recently published updated statistics on the impact of opioid misuse in our state.

A few takeaways:
• There are currently 1,789 confirmed opioid-related deaths for 2018 and 791 confirmed opioid-related deaths as of October for 2019.
• Opioid-related poisoning deaths increased by 29.0 percent in 2017 (2,043) compared to 2016 (1,584). Based on provisional data, opioid-related poisoning deaths decreased by 12.4 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
• There were 512 opioid overdose Emergency Department (ED) visits this October compared to 560 this time last year (October 2018). For 2019 year-to-date, there has been a 4 percent decrease in opioid overdose ED visits compared to January-October 2018.
• There were 197 opioid overdose reversals reported to NC Harm Reduction Coalition by a community member in October 2019, compared to 140 in October 2018.

Review the full data report.

Results of NCMS Vocabulary Quiz

The results are in on last week’s NCMS vocabulary quiz, designed to test your knowledge of NCMS-related acronyms and important names. We didn’t have an overwhelming response – six people took the quiz, only three people gave their names and only two of those people got all the answers correct. And one of those two was a NCMS staff member, who is not eligible for the prize.

One NCMS member who took the quiz and failed, did respond via email to say we should try to move away from using so many acronyms.

“They are out of control. Impossible to read a journal anymore without an acronym dictionary handy,” he wrote.

We agree, but for those who may be curious about these NCMS-specific acronyms and to follow through on our promise of a Starbucks gift card, here are the answers and the lucky gift card winner:

CCH/CCHN – Carolina Complete Health/Carolina Complete Health Network. This is one of the five pre-paid health plans to receive a contract to provide Medicaid managed care services in the state. This is a partnership between the NCMS, the NC Community Health Center Association and Centene Corporation. Learn more about CCH/CCHN.

Centene – Managed care company. See CCH/CCHN above.

CPP – Community Practitioner Program. The NCMS Foundation’s 30-year-old program that places physicians, PAs, nurse practitioners in underserved areas of the state in exchange for help in paying off educational loans. Learn more.

Curi – Formerly Medical Mutual Insurance Company, which originally was started by NCMS physicians in the 1970s. Learn more about Curi.

HCLM – Health Care Leadership and Management is one of the NCMS Foundation’s leadership development courses offered through the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership. Learn more about HCLM.

KIPL – Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership, which offers a variety of leadership development courses through the NCMS Foundation. Learn more.

NCPHP – North Carolina Professionals Health Plan, formerly known as NC Physicians Health Plan, but recently changed its official name to reflect the broader group of people who use its services. Learn more about what this organization offers.

OCHI – Our Community Health Initiative is the NCMS Foundation’s program to help you easily connect your patients to community organizations to address social determinants of health. Learn more about OCHI.

PAI – Physicians Advocacy Institute works on your behalf at the national level to advance fair and transparent policies in the health care system to sustain the practice of medicine for the benefit of patients. NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson, MBA, MA, serves as the organization’s president. Learn more.

Project OBOT – Project Office-based Opioid Treatment. The NCMS Foundation’s program to help you have the tools and resources to successfully help your patients with substance use disorder – from getting waiver trained to provide Medication Assisted Treatment to sharing information with substance abuse counselors. Learn more about Project OBOT.

And now, drumroll please. The winner of the $5 Starbucks gift card who knew the meaning of each acronym, is Greg Griggs, MPA, CAE, executive vice president of the NC Academy of Family Physicians. Congratulations, Greg!

In the News

Nike Designs New Shoe for Medical Professionals, Becker’s Hospital Review, 11-15-19

Learning Opportunity

Join the Durham Orange County Medical Society on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the University Club in Durham for a panel discussion on the Impact of Gun Violence on Society. The panel includes medical experts as well as student activists. Learn more and register.